Little Ellie Isabellie Elephant: Day at the Pool
by Tracy Hartley
Writers Republic

"As she was walking to her room she thought, it’s ok to be little. And it’s ok to need help."

Little Ellie Isabellie is a young elephant with a serious dilemma. She’s watching her animal friends playing together happily in a swimming pool. She really wants to join them, but unfortunately, she fears she’s “just too little.” It doesn’t seem fair that she can’t jump in and play as they do. Maybe if she were just a little bigger, she thinks. For example, what If she had stilts? But she realizes she’d never be able to get in the pool or swim around with those. The same objection applies to her idea of wearing her mother’s high heel shoes. Could she stretch herself to the right height? There’s a tape on the door to measure herself by, but making herself taller is obviously impossible. Ellie Isabellie is getting sad. She hates being little, and there doesn’t seem to be any solution to her problem. Maybe, though, her momma can help.

Amazingly, Momma has just the thing Ellie Isabellie will need to join in the fun at the pool. At first, Ellie doesn’t understand. How can that “strange item that was filled with air” help her in the pool? Her mother gently explains, telling Ellie to her surprise that swimming with the floaty will even allow her to swim at the deep end. Sure enough, when Ellie takes the floaty to the pool and jumps in, she finds she can stay afloat and kick and swim, impressing her friends who have never seen such a thing before. And best of all, they’re happy she’s come to join them. Later, as she remembers the experience, she’s pleased that she decided to ask for help. She has learned a valuable lesson.

This sweet children’s parable was written, author Hartley says, for her granddaughter—a “beautiful little brave fighter.” With jaunty, pleasant illustrations by Linda Solomon, Ellie is shown as plump, pink, and thoughtful, perplexed at first as she tries to figure out on her own some way to enjoy a day at the pool, and then contented as she looks back later on the positive results of taking advice (and a floaty) from her caring mother. This animal fantasy shows young children the benefits of asking for help sometimes and not being afraid to try new things. The book demonstrates that with a bit of trust in the counsel of one’s elders, a child can enjoy life to the fullest and make and keep friendships by participating in new activities with others. In fact, as Ellie Isabellie remembers the events of her day, she realizes that tomorrow might bring even more such adventures. She falls off to sleep, thinking, “Ohhh, the possibilities!”

Hartley’s book will be an enjoyable read-to for parents and grandparents, opening the way to some simple but significant discussions with youngsters who will soon be able to read the cheerful tale for themselves. Hartley says that she wants her granddaughter, and all other children as well, to know that even though they may be small, they can be strong and bold. Her book offers a heartwarming way to spread that message.

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